How to do Church as a Busy Working Mom

I love church. I was a youth ministry major, and thought I wanted to work in a church someday. However, the week before our wedding found me applying for a government job downtown, and now I've been there for five years! I love that my job gives me flexibility to work four days a week, and to take time off when I need it. However, being a busy working family has been hard on our church involvement.

Before we had kids, my husband and I were active youth group volunteers and made it to church most Sunday mornings. After J was born, we stepped back from volunteering for awhile, and our Sunday attendance dropped a bit. Since having our second baby, we've really struggled to be involved again. Sometimes it seems like we barely see each other as it is, and Sunday is our only day together as a family; not to mention, our only day to get house projects done, visit friends and family, etc. It's even harder to be involved on weekday nights, because the hubby gets off work at 6 downtown, and we barely have time to eat dinner and get the kids bathed and in bed. Excuses, excuses... I know. But it's hard.

Here are some of the things I'm learning about how to do church as a busy working mom:

1. Have realistic expectations. You will not make it every Sunday. Your baby will not always love being in the nursery. You will miss sermons while walking the halls or feeding your baby.

Image: lifecreations

2. Realize this is a season. Seek God and do what is best for your family in this season. Continually seek Him and ask Him where you can glorify Him most.

3. Step back if you need to. Pre-kids, it's so much easier to volunteer, attend Bible studies, host a small group. After kids, you might need to choose what's most important and step back from everything else for awhile.  

4. Find ways to connect with the other moms in church. If the church mom's group meets while you're at work, maybe you can join them on weekend playdates or for a mom's night out. Some of the ladies in our church do a freezer cooking club -- that's been a great way to spend some time together AND be productive!

5. Be yourself. If you are having an awful week and are stressed out, it's okay to cry through worship. When people ask how you're doing, be honest.

6. Plan ahead for Sunday morning: Get up early. Pick out clothes on Saturday nights. Choose an easy breakfast to serve. Plan to leave 10(+) minutes earlier than needed.

7. When all else fails, listen online! My church posts audio files of their sermons online, so when I miss a sermon, I sometimes catch up on my lunch break. :)

8. Find a flexible service opportunity. (This is the hardest one for me right now.) Can you bring your family to serve at a homeless shelter on a Sunday afternoon? Can you edit newsletters? Can you help in the nursery once a month? Can you mentor a teenager? I have been most blessed by my church when I have given back -- and I miss that. I don't want to serve out of guilt (or selfishness!), but out of true love for God and his church.  

9. Cut back on other activities and prioritize. As kids get older, it's easy to get caught up in ALL THE EXTRACURRICULARS. We plan to minimize our kids' involvement in other activities so that God, family and church can be the priority.  

10. Pray. Pray for your church, your pastors, your family, and ask God to show you your place in his church.  

What would you add? How can busy families stay involved in church? Have you struggled with your church involvement?

{This post is part of a series for (in)couragers. If you are a working mom, we would love for you to join our community here.}


  1. These are AWESOME tips, friend!!! Thanks for putting words to these.

    1. Thank you, my dear! Now I just need to put them into practice... ;) We did make it this past Sunday, although S only lasted 10 minutes in the nursery. Our church has an "upper room" area where people can be a bit louder and watch the sermon via video, so I brought him up there for a bit. He was so restless, so I ended up hanging out in the nursery with him. It was still good, because I got to chat with the nursery volunteers (and the hubby got to sit through the sermon). :)


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